Pessimistic attributional style for positive life events as a predictor of low mental health in Russian sample
Attributional style (AS) indicates cognitive dispositions for explaining positive and negative events. People with pessimistic АS explain failure with stable and global causes. Previous studies and meta-analyses (Hu et al., 2015; Peterson et al., 1985; Zhang et al., 2014) showed that pessimistic AS for failures is a reliable predictor of depression and ill-being, but the possible mediators of such relations are understudied.
Our main objective was to analyse relations of pessimistic AS for success and failure with mental health. We hypothesized that pessimistic AS would be a predictor of low mental health mediated by self-esteem, dispositional optimism, and gratitude.
A cross-sectional study was conducted on a sample of 261 adults (MA=32.09, SD=12.53, 13% male) using a 24-item attributional style questionnaire (SFASQ, Gordeeva et al., 2009), mental well-being scale (Tennant et al., 2007), self-esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965), gratitude questionnaire (McCullough et al., 2002), and LOT (Scheier, Carver, 1985).
A path model of effects of pessimistic AS in positive and negative situations on mental ill-being was developed. The model with three mediators fits the data very well: CFI=0.990; RMSEA=0.048. The pessimistic attributional style for positive events was a significant predictor of mental ill-being mediated by self-esteem, dispositional optimism, and gratitude while the indirect effect of pessimistic AS for failures on mental ill-being (controlling for age) was not significant.
Only the pessimistic AS for successes but not for failures was a significant predictor of mental ill-being which underline the importance of stable and global attributions of positive life events for mental health.